0159 GMT January 23, 2021
Drivers of malnutrition in Yemen worsened in 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic, economic decline, floods, escalating conflict and significant underfunding of this year’s aid response have compounded an already bleak hunger situation after almost six years of war, Reuters reported.
“We’ve been warning since July that Yemen is on the brink of a catastrophic food security crisis. If the war doesn’t end now, we are nearing an irreversible situation and risk losing an entire generation of Yemen’s young children,” said UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Lise Grande.
According to a UN Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (also known as IPC) malnutrition analysis of south Yemen, acute malnutrition cases in children under five have increased about 10 percent in 2020, to more than half a million.
Cases of children with severe acute malnutrition rose 15.5 percent, and at least a quarter-million pregnant or breastfeeding women also need malnutrition treatment.
About 1.4 million children under five live in south Yemen, which is under the control of the government of Yemen. IPC data for north Yemen, where most Yemenis live and which is controlled by Houthis, is not yet available.
Famine has never been officially declared in Yemen. The UN said the country is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with 80 percent of the population reliant on humanitarian aid.
Nutrition and other services that keep millions from starvation and disease are gradually closing across Yemen amid an acute funding shortage this year.
The UN said it had by mid-October received only $1.43 billion (£1.10 billion) of the $3.2 billion needed for the entire 2020 Yemen humanitarian response. Programs have started to close and scale down.
The organization said it needs $50 million urgently to boost nutrition programs.